From a mother to her daughter, on her birthday

Posted in SharonSpeak on November 25th, 2009 by Sharon Feinstein

It’s 22 years ago that I was in labour and now there’s a young woman making her way in the world, taking chances, having dreams, feeling the icy beads of fear. There’s the mother’s impulse to make it safe and pave the way, but she must always draw back and try to let it alone. Possibly the hardest lesson to learn, over 22 years. My daughter is thousands of miles away and she’s slowly opening the neat brown parcel of life, in Robert Graves’ words. ‘ Children, if you dare to think Of the greatness, rareness, muchness
Fewness of this precious only Endless world in which you say You live, you think of things like this. ‘ For Lara it is things like music and she has worked so hard to switch from her beautiful violin playing to the voice, and has now recorded her first songs, which she wrote. Will she be lucky, successful or will she taste the harshness of slammed doors and unreturned phone calls. Both are lessons and a mother must merely let it happen and try to be as supportive, guiding and honest as possible. Whatever happens with Lara’s dream, she’s certainly pulling at the string to open the parcel, she’s trying, she’s brave, she’s on the other side of the world all by herself. Well done darling. Happy Birthday, and how wonderful to have a beautiful young daughter in this world, may she always be safe.

Happy Birthday Lara Happy Birthday Lara

Why do people want to own a piece of Bernie Madoff ? 16th November, 2009

Posted in SharonSpeak on November 16th, 2009 by Sharon Feinstein

Why do people want to own a piece of Bernie Madoff ? Have his watches on their wrists, baseball jackets on their backs and even his dog bowl on the kitchen floor ? In our 21st century celebrity culture, where fame is no longer built on long term hard work and talent, but is far more instant and comes with the daring, sensational, cleverly marketed and even crazed, a man as immoral as Madoff has a celebrity value. The notorious Wall Street fraudster, whose 65 billion dollar Ponzi scheme has destroyed thousands of investors’ lives and even driven 2 people to suicide, was the ‘star’ of a Manhattan auction this week. Here was a chance to buy into Bernie and Ruth’s billlionaire lifestyle, their jewellery, artworks, china and even Post-It notes from Madoff’s desk. A New York Mets baseball jacket with Madoff embroidered on the back fetched 14,500 dollars. Madoff, who is languishing in a federal prison in North Carolina on a 150 year sentence, has no need of these luxury items anymore. And one wonders what he will make of the news that his dog’s bowl is now an expensive item in someone’s Madoff collection, and his wife’s diamond earrings fetched 70,000 dollars, more than quadrupling its estimate. As he tries to make sense of his new life and all the tragic victims he has left behind, he will have to integrate this extraordinary phenomenon of celebrity into the mix. It’s like these people bought his autograph, and want to show it off, and have a piece of history on display. But who wants such sad, twisted, tragic history in their home? Beats me.

In a deathly place we had come to celebrate life and friendship

Posted in SharonSpeak on November 11th, 2009 by Sharon Feinstein

Last weekend I took my best friend to East Sussex for her birthday. In the late autumn sunshine we climbed the South Downs and soon found ourselves standing at Beachy Head, that mysterious point 162 metres above sea level, where people come from all over the world to end their lives. Morbid and surreal it may be, but this wild and dramatic spot seems to have exercised an almost mystical hold on the unhappy and desperate for many years. Records state it is since the 7th century, when St Wilfrid found that the locals were jumping off the cliff in despair after a three-year drought. About 20 people a year end their lives here, hurling themselves over the steep chalk cliffs to the swirling eddies and currents below, milky white before they mix with the freezing cold grey-blue breakers. The seas are notoriously dangerous with unpredictable currents and strong winds, throwing up ships on the rocks. We stood on these breathtaking chalk cliffs, which are shells thrown up from the sea and pounded together over centuries, and watched the wheeling gulls, wondering about the lives lost so tragically here. The few small white crosses and bunches of flowers are the only eerie reminder of the lone figures who have stood there over time, feeling that absolutely all hope is lost and only death can release them. Even stranger, as we had come away to celebrate life, not death, and we went back to our small, country hotel to toast to my friend’s birthday, her continuing good health and our love of life and long friendship

Paul Watson, risking his life to save the planet

Posted in Interviews, SharonSpeak on November 4th, 2009 by Sharon Feinstein

The man is hugely inspirational. While the rest of us are getting on with making more money, dealing with our domestic world, and stressing over the day’s shopping, he’s risking his life to save the planet.
Paul Watson and his volunteers go into treacherous conditions in the Antarctic, on highly dangerous missions to stop the aggressive, bloody, Japanaese whaling fleet from brutally killing humpback and fin whales. These butchers use harpoons which explode the whales organs and decimate their bodies for around 35 minutes of excruciating, unimaginable pain. “ I cannot abide doing nothing, “ is Paul’s maxim.
Consequently, his is the only ship down there trying to stop this illegal atrocity which no government is willing to bother with, even though the Japanese are contravening all the laws and treaties in place. Paul, a Canadian, founded Greenpeace, but left because they don’t believe in direct action, and quite rightly in my view, he calls them nothing more than a feelgood organisation. He is a modern day pirate of the high seas and his clients are the whales, dolphins, seals and all marine life.
His next mission, which launches on December 7th, will see him take the most dangerous steps of his brave life – in a new fast vessel he will try to intercept the harpoon boats and position himself between them and the 36,000 kilogram whales, the creatures known for their intelligence and renowned for their extraordinary, complex songs. He has told the crew that they must be willing to die for the whales as that is exactly what could happen. He believes that each of us can make a difference, that great change comes about with indviduals who channel their passion, and I firmly believe this too, as with my Campaign to stop the Slaughter of Leatherback Turtles. One small step, and the belief, is the way to get there.

The following is a audio clip of my recent interview with Paul Watson:

Paul Watson speaking about his upcoming trip


What happened to Jeff Kinney when he made millions on Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Posted in Interviews, Reviews, SharonSpeak on November 4th, 2009 by Sharon Feinstein

How many people would love to make millions? Become multi-millionaires after all those years of trying to get their talent recognised. Those bleak times when doors were being slammed in their faces, and hope dashed with one breezy line or other like, Sorry, no thanks, good luck. Then, suddenly, that shining mesmerising moment when the break-through happens, gathering momentum, with all the accompanying fanfare and the cash pouring in. Now they can live the dream.
It happened to children’s writer, Jeff Kinney, whose crafty, funny, witty books, The Diary of A Wimpy Kid series, have even beaten Obama’s autobiography in the charts and knocked Dan Brown off the Number One slot.
The unusual, extraordinary difference is that Jeff wants none of the glamour, glitz, and luxury his sudden fortune could bring. The private planes, diamonds, Armani wardrobes, house in Malibu, penthouse overlooking Central Park, chauffeurs to drive his young sons to school. In fact he can think of nothing worse. He wants to live in Plainville, wear Dads’ jeans, drive an old car and keep his boys’ lives as simple and ordinary as possible. He wants to help out with the school baseball team, eat the same food and keep his head down. Next year, when Fox releases the movie of the sensational, fast-selling books, he’s going to have to try even harder to remain anonymous. But in this day of celebrity madness, consumerism and lack of spirituality, Jeff’s a cool guy who stands apart.

Here another clip of my interview with Jeff where he discusses how the fame of his book series has impacted his life:

Jeff Kinney Interview – Clip #3

Listen to the previous two audio clips from my interview with Jeff Kinney.

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We focus too much on our own lives, in a blinkered, selfish tunnel vision. Take a look at this

Posted in Leatherback Turtles, SharonSpeak on November 2nd, 2009 by Sharon Feinstein

Wendy Herron formed SOS Tobago nine years ago to combat the threats facing endangered leatherback turtles – the poaching for meat, eggs, and shells ; coastal development ; entanglement in fishing nets.
Whilst she was in Tobago her organisation patrolled the three primary leatherback nesting beaches, worked with local guides and hotels to reduce the impact of uncontrolled tourism on the beaches, and tried to educate the island’s communities about the importance of conservation.
Since she resigned, I feel this is no longer an effective organisation with any real achievements or track record. Consequently the leatherbacks continue to suffer enormously, without any co-ordinated rescue operations in place.
I tracked Wendy down to the US and told her about my Campaign, with my cousin, Andre, a vet and scientist, and local conservationist based in Tobago, Peter Cox.
This is her response.
Sharon, I just went to your website; impressive. Your turtle pages are informative & accurate. Hopefully the British tourists who flock to the culpable hotels will visit your site. You have stirred up many memories that break my heart and I will send another email to you in a few days to give you my thoughts.
I was particularly taken by the fact that you included a bit about Captain Paul Watson. He answered my call for help in 2001. I will be back in touch in a few days when I have had time to compose my thoughts. Thanks for your help with the “Ladies”, they certainly need it.
Best regards, Wendy Herron
Please support this, without the ancient sea creatures who eat jellyfish and contribute to the vital balance of the oceans, our seas will all die, and we will become extinct. We cannot live without the oceans and we need to save these creatures of the sea, instead of focusing our lives on our own gains.
Go to my website and make a donation, however small, and send me an awareness and support e mail, each and every one will ultimately be helpful to who Wendy Herron calls ‘ the ladies, ‘ the majestic nesting leatherback turtles